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Mast bands and rope wouldings


DocBlake
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Is there any rule of thumb as to what vessel (size, type) would have mast bands or rope wouldings and which would not. Size is an obvious criteria. I've not seen a colonial schooner wither those features, but they would be visually appealing. Should I consider adding them to my "Indepence" masting, or are they too over the top for such a small vessel?

Edited by DocBlake
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They are certainly for reinforcing a 'made mast'; a ship with pole masts wouldn't necessarily need them.  Where that change occurred would depend on the sizes of spars available and the capacity of the yard to do the work.  A place with lots of tall straight spars possibly would use a pole mast to a larger size than one that had to import everything.

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Hi Doc;

 

From what I have seen whilst researching among the NMM draughts of masts and spars,  pole masts were used as much as possible until around 1780.  After this date,  New England (American) timber was no longer available,  due to the loss of the American Colonies,  and built masts were required to make up the shortfall.

 

For small vessels,  pole mast timbers could still be imported from the Baltic,  but it would appear that these were not available in such long lengths as the New England timbers,  and far more Naval vessels therefore needed built masts than had been the case previously.

 

I cannot quote any record that states this,  but there are quite a number of mast drawings from the late 1770s,  which show masts for all sizes of ship,  and how many blanks were required to be joined to make the built mast.  Based on the sudden appearance of a complete range of drawings,  it would seem reasonable to assume that prior to this,  built masts were much less required due to larger timber being available.

 

Wooldings were used on larger pole masts to strengthen them against splitting,  but bands were only used on built masts.

 

All the best,

 

Mark P

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Good Evening Dave,

 

Yes, there are rules for wooldings and latter Iron bands.  Whether wooldings or iron bands was based on period rather than ship size.    If you can get hold of Lees, or better, Steel, there are tabulations of how many mast reinforcements would be required.  Basically, it was based on whether the mast was a "made mast" or a single pole.  In most instances for both British and American vessels, the reinforcement was for the lower masts and for the bowsprit.  Top masts and higher were generally pole masts and do not have reinforcement bands.  I just needed to go to Steel for my current build, HMS Liverpool, a 6the rate, 28 gun frigate built in 1757.  As others have stated, smaller vessels had pole masts and there was no reinforcement needed.  Again, use the available references and you will get the picture.  For example, schooners were small enough that the masts are pole masts.  SO, no wooldings or iron bands.

 

Hope that this helps,

 

Tom

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Hi Tom;

 

Just one note of caution.  The 1745 establishment might be a better guide to Liverpool,  as this listed mast and yard lengths and diameters for various sizes of vessel.  Steel is about 40 years later than Liverpool (unless you are modelling her after a refit) and there were quite a few rigging changes in those decades (the widespread use of royal sails,  for example) 

 

This establishment only lists a 24 gun vessel,  not a 28,  but Lees will give the formula which applied during this period for calculating main mast length,  and which can be used to work it out for Liverpool. 

 

You could then check this against the establishment,  and work out the proportion for the difference,  if there is one.  The result could also be compared against those listed in Steel.  They may well end up being similar,  but they may not.

 

I would check,  if only for peace of mind.

 

All the best,

 

Mark P

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Good Morning Mark,

 

Yes, I agree with you.  Caution is the word.  For example, possibly a typo, the length of the bowsprit varies a full three feet between two editions of Steel.  Also, mast diameters are a bit beefier in latter editions.  I am building Liverpool after her last refit, and between 1776 and 1778 when she sank in Jamaica Bay off of Long Island New York.  I have a set of masts and spars that are on the Model Shipwright plan.  However, they are of mixed scales so you need to be very certain to resize based on the rules in Lee's or Steel.  Also, although much different, David Anscherl's Swan class give clues although you need to go back to the earlier establishment.

 

Very good discussion.  Thanks

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